Neil W. McCabe, OAN Investigative Reporter — Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 7:00 AM PT — Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The sixth generation Arizonan, who is a firefighter and city councilor in his community, is running for House seat representing Arizona’s First Congressional District. He told One America News his Army service in Afghanistan motivates him.
“I was in Urozgan Province for about eight months and then for my second deployment I was in Heret and Badghis provinces,” said Chris Taylor, who is running against Democrat Rep. Thomas C. O’Halleran. O’Halleran first won the seat in 2016. “I saw an extensive amount of combat over the 16 months that I was there–over 250 missions. I was in firefights all the time.”
Taylor said he is a second generation paratrooper and that his father saw combat in Vietnam. After Taylor earned his jump wings at Fort Benning, Georgia, he reported to the John F. Kennedy Special Operations School and Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he was trained to become a psychological warfare specialist. After his assignment to Special Operations Command, the Arizonan said he deployed twice to Afghanistan, first with Green Berets and then with Marine special operators.
“Most of the time to seek close contact we would go out on reconnaissance patrols–basically to get outside the wire and see who would attack us,” he said.
“The ways the rules of engagement were it was hard to go and pick fights, so we’d have to wait until we were attacked. Then, we would use overwhelming force to put the enemy to sleep,” he said.
Jon Johnson, who covers politics for the Gila Herald, said Taylor’s campaign comes as the state’s Republican Party is unwinding from years of internal conflict. “The problem is there is kinda different factions that have been going at it for quite some time–hard, hard right versus more centrist Republicans.”
Despite the factions in the party, Taylor has a good shot at taking the seat from O’Halleran, whose support is concentrated in Flagstaff and the Indian reservations, he said.
“I said in an article I wrote about him, he’s right out of central casting to be a Republican–the look they would love to have, good looking, nice head on his shoulders, someone who could bridge between the hard right, who vote for you if you have an R next to your name no matter what and the centrist guys,” Johnson said.
“He might bring over a lot of independent voter would otherwise vote Democrat,” he said.
As he goes around the district, Taylor said he keeps hearing from voters, especially from veterans, that they are frustrated with the lack of services for veterans in the rural district.
It is a problem he knows firsthand, he said.
“The number one issue for me that people always talk to me about is the level of care that our veterans are getting, particularly in rural area,” he said. “Living where I live I still have to drive two hours.”
With more than 58,000 square miles, Arizona-1 is the largest district in the state and the tenth largest district in the country.
Taylor said the incumbent does not understand the challenges of rural Arizona.
“Congressman O’Halleran is hurting the people of our district, because he doesn’t really know what it is to be a rural Arizona,” he said. “He’s from Chicago. He’s come here and tries to say he has our best interests, but we don’t have real representation in Congress.”
Taylor might be facing a two-term incumbent, but he is not doing it alone. He is getting support from local activists who were part of both the presidential campaigns of former Texas congressman Ron Paul and his Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.)